Worse Than Watergate

“I know it when I see it.” That phrase was most famously utilized in 1964 by Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart in reference to pornography. I assume Justice Potter had no formal training in cinematography and I certainly have none in phycology but I saw insanity on Thursday in the person of Donald Trump during his 77 minute press conference. As much as I disagree with the policies and actions of Vice President Mike Pence the time has come for Congress to protect America by removing Trump via the provisions of the 25th Amendment.

Section Four of the Amendment is too lengthy to reprint here. In a thumbnail, it provides for the removal of an incompetent (that includes mentally) President and his replacement by the Vice President. If the President challenges his removal a two-thirds majority of both chambers of Congress can declare him incompetent to serve, finalizing his removal and replacement by the Vice President.

To satisfy my inquisitiveness I decided to look at the first ten in the order of succession to the President. In order the first seven are: Pence, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, President Pro Tempera of the Senate Orrin Hatch, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.   Trump’s nominees for the eight, nine and ten slots are still unconfirmed at this writing. In the interest of brevity and politeness the best I can say is: not a lot of winners there. We can worry about them in the future. The clear and present threat to the world is an American President who is not in touch with reality.

I am among those who have questioned Trump’s competence and sanity for some time now but the straw that broke the camel’s back was Thursday’s news conference. By chance I watched most of it live. Trump was obviously detached from reality! He describe the (in his mind) monumental achievements of his administration to date. In reality they have achieved very little except for bringing millions of protesters to the American streets and scaring the hell out of most of the world, very much including our allies.

Trump further declared, “To be honest, I inherited a mess. It’s a mess. At home and abroad, a mess.” President Trump, as a reality check I suggest you study American history and look at what Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Barack Obama inherited. Those were messes and they both brought America out of them.

Trump described the White House by saying, “This administration is running like a fine tuned machine.” What administration has he been observing?

With regard to the Michael Flynn/Russian scandal he attacked the news media and the leakers, (more about them in a bit). He effectively endorsed Flynn’s illegal behavior. By Trump’s reasoning the problem is not the criminal who commits a crime but the person who called 911 to report it.

There are an unprecedented amount of leaks for this early in an administration. Many of them appear to be coming out of Trump’s own staff. Those that are coming out of various agencies appear to be coming from committed, patriotic staffers who are scared and want to inform the public before it is too late.

Trump’s major theme was to attack the press. That may be popular with Bubba, but it is long term political suicide. A free press is essential to a functioning representative democracy. Trump attacked major news outlets as fake news. That term, like conservatism, has been co-opted by the radical right. Various reporters tried to point out Trump’s obviously hypocrisy with the term fake news but none better than Major Garrett of CBS and The National Journal. Garrett pointed out that the leaks couldn’t be real while the news generated from them was fake. Trump’s reply: “The leaks are real. The leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake because much of the news is fake.” I fail to see the logic in Trump’s statement and I am far from alone!

It is early and I plead guilty to being anti-Trump but this scandal has the potential to be worse than the Watergate scandal that brought Nixon down (largely because of the efforts of the Washington Post). Trump is making an all-out effort to discredit the press in anticipation of “other shoes falling”. This reminds me of William Shakespeare’s line in Hamlet, “The lady doth protest too much.”

Later in the weekend Trump called the press, “The enemy of the American people.” If Trump is my defender I am going into battle naked and unarmed. We cannot have a surreal President in a real and sometimes dangerous world. As much as I dread the prospect of a President Pence, it is time to begin the removal of President Trump.

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